Dlamini-Zuma pledges to build unity

2012-07-17 09:02

Addis Ababa - The first woman elected to head the African Union Commission committed on Monday to building unity on the continent after a controversial vote in which she unseated the incumbent chair.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's home affairs minister, beat Jean Ping of Gabon in a close election on Sunday at a summit here.

"My election should not be seen as a personal victory but it should be seen as a victory for the African continent in general," she told reporters before flying back to South Africa.

"We [will] continue to work in a way that tries to build consensus," added Dlamini-Zuma, who earlier posed for pictures with Ping.

Many participants in the AU summit, which ran over into the early hours of Tuesday, appeared relieved that the six-month impasse over the continental body's top job had finally been broken.

"One man in his time plays many parts, I have played my part and I now take my bow," Ping said at the closing ceremony.

Scars and resentment

One Western diplomat noted "a definite sense of relief" within the AU after the vote.

But the "very tough and aggressive" campaign waged by the candidates "will leave scars and resentment" he said, asking not to be named, particularly "if the South Africans did indeed bring pressure to bear", as some leaders have alleged.

Mac Maharaj, a spokesperson for South African President Jacob Zuma - Dlamini-Zuma's ex-husband and current boss - said he hoped the new appointment would result in a "more effective" AU.

"The African Union has taken many very good decisions. The problem is to get them implemented," he told journalists.

Zuma's office said he was "humbled by the confidence that Africa has showed in the Southern Africa candidate".

Reaction from the rest of the continent was mixed.

Divisive tactics

Sudan, whose conflict with South Sudan has been a key issue at the two-day summit, said it respected the choice of Dlamini-Zuma.

"We accept... and we respect the opinion of the leaders," said Rabbie Abdelatti Ebaid, a senior member of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party.

Kenya, which voted for Ping, conceded that the breaking of the deadlock was good for the continent, with Richard Onyonka, an assistant foreign affairs minister, calling the vote "a kind of victory for Africa because we have moved forward".

But he said he disapproved of South Africa's tactics that caused divisions within the AU.

"I'm very uncomfortable with the methods and style of South Africa. They were entitled to bring a candidate... but we felt that there was too much intimidation, arm-twisting and threats."

Another delegate, who did not want to be identified, accused South Africa, home to the continent's largest economy, of buying votes.

Dlamini-Zuma, aged 63, is a veteran of the fight against apartheid. A doctor by training, she has also served as health and foreign minister.

Elevated tensions

Voting took place at the AU summit where leaders also focused on the continent's flashpoints, including Mali, the crisis between Sudan and South Sudan and escalating violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Sunday, Kigali and Kinshasa agreed to an international force to neutralise rebels in eastern DR Congo, as the AU said it was ready to send peacekeepers.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said both sides had agreed "in principle" to accept the force.

He was speaking after his first face-to-face meeting with his DRC counterpart President Joseph Kabila since a UN report in June accused Rwanda of supporting Congolese rebels.

Dlamini-Zuma's win follows her challenge six months ago to unseat Ping, which ended in deadlock after neither won the required two-thirds of the vote, leaving Ping in the post.

Officials said the election this time went to four rounds of voting before Dlamini-Zuma won 37 votes, three more than the required majority.

The vote raised tensions between Africa's French- and English-speaking countries. South Africa also drew accusations of violating an unwritten rule that the AU top job should go to a candidate from one of the continent's smaller countries.

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-07-17 09:42


      Andre - 2012-07-17 12:37

      Please before approaching the public; make sure of your facts. Madame Zuma's credentials: Department of Health: If you should have any doubt about the honesty of medical doctor madame zuma, please read: She was also the inventor of the garlic and beetroot hocus-pocus and pushed her witchdoctor’s knowledge into the pockets of her drunken friend Manto. She invited hero Mbeki’s to Sarafina costing the taxpayers +R 14million. She puts this moron’s head full with aids-denial causing hundreds of thousand of aids related deaths. Not chickens but human beings. Department of Foreign affairs: To hide her incompetence, intellectual Mbeki replaced her to foreign affairs where she opened the South African borders for the destitute African refugees, Chinese and other communists around the world bringing the economy of South Africa to its knees. Department of internal affairs: Her last and most detrimental job!!! Removed the little work available for the unskilled South African workers and pushing them into crime to survive while she could play the compassionate Queen for all immigrants, legal and illegal. By now, not only the economy is in shambles but the unskilled workforce in South Africa too. Service into all government departments comes to a stand still, money becomes as scares as chicken teeth and South Africa is on the verge of collapse. And today, this anc delegate is expected to be hailed as the savior of AFRICA. Poor Africa.

  • Hasani P - 2012-07-17 09:45

    Congrants madam Zuma, under your leadership we hope Africa will come out of darkeness created by the colonial system. may you wisper some words of wisdom to fellow african leaders

      patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-07-17 09:56

      Boet.....this continent has been black controlled for 20-60 years now. Explain this "darkeness". In any case, everyone of the black leaders on the subcontinent are currently falling over their feet to sell their souls to the Chinese for 40 pieces of silver. China......"Die nuwe baas"

      bibi.vanzyl - 2012-07-17 10:12

      Hanai: Most countries (I have lived in 4) have been free of colonialism for almost 50 years and little progress has been made. Whatever progress is being funded by the West (e.g. World Bank, UN) and investment by foreign corporates. And lately by the new colonial empire, China. Ms Zuma"s position, if I have to believe the people around here where I live now, was almost bought, bribed and bullied. Nevertheless, I hope she is an independant leader, free from the government influences of the corrupt SA government.

      rob.baggaley - 2012-07-17 10:37

      Africa.....When whites go...Chaos, corruption & stupidity rule.

      vark.nek.90 - 2012-07-17 11:10

      @Hasani P: In Zambia I still have to drive over bridges built by the hated colonials (structurely condemmed by the United Nations). The colonials should have foreseen that any structure build in Africa should be "forever maintenance free". In Kinshasa an office block, resembling the leaning tower of Pizza, are being propped up with huge logs. Yep, it is fault of you-know-who, because the building was not built to be "forever maintenance free". "My election should not be seen as a personal victory", really. Nkosazana, fix your own house before you try and fix other people'affairs.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-07-17 13:51

      wake up fool, the darkness is being created by your ANC.

      jans.opresser - 2012-07-17 21:27

      WISDOM!!? that must be her NAME? she clearly doesnt have any.....wisdom! is treating AIDS with beet root wise?

  • john.baptista.505 - 2012-07-17 10:12

    Perhaps the good doctor can tackle Africa's biggest killers: Malaria, HIV and War by using her age old methods: For Malaria and HIV, she can relaunch her Virodene Campaign as a wonder drug. All it needed was some more finding in order to get this TJik (Tik / Jik) down the veins of sick people and so she could be back to administering really quickly. And charging for the care of course. For the Wars, she can launch a new play - maybe she can use her old cast - they are well rested as they have not been working apparently. She could call this new play "Sarafina 3: the revenge of the bloodthirsty savage rebels". That should get western aid agencies' pockets itching to invest in Thabo's brainchild.

      jans.opresser - 2012-07-17 21:19

      she is Dr. NO GOOD!!

  • dave.miles.39589 - 2012-07-17 11:16

    One good thing, it takes her out of South African politics!

      harryhobbit - 2012-07-17 11:42

      It just spreads the Zuma dynasty. Everyone else will be their subject.

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-07-17 13:17

    Congratulations!,madame zuma ,as much as you deserved the postition ,south africa needs you more ..we don't have many ,honest and efficient government ministers

  • keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-17 14:41

    Please send some AU troops to the gangster infected areas in the cape.Maybe you can send troops

  • madulla.nkosi - 2012-07-17 19:09

    Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - What an absolute disaster!! Our ex Minister of Foreign Affairs, who brings with her an abysmal and embarrassing track record. The same Nkosazana who presided over South Africa’s foreign policy that resulted in a totally bankrupt and ruined state in Zimbabwe. The exact same Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma whose foreign policy on Zimbabwe, Burma and Iran has seen South Africa being relegated to pariah status for blocking United Nations discussion on Human Rights abuse in Zimbabwe. The same Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who saw no crises in the election results in Zimbabwe being delayed by five weeks. The same Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a key defender of Mugabe’s disastrous, dictatatorial misrule. The same Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who denied an entry visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is proud to wear her badge of infamy and has lurched from one spectacular mess to another. Heaven help the African Union with this women as it's head.

      jans.opresser - 2012-07-17 21:17

      the zulu and the xhosa have destroyed every thing that theyu have touched since they have been in power...all over the continent! the only thing that they have done correctly,is to line their own pockets with the country as its own peronal piggy bank. cant fix a pot hole in Hillbrow,but want to lead all of africa? cant feed their won people,but want to lead all of africa? cant house their own people,but want to lead all of africa? cant provide adequate TOILETS for their own people,but want to lead all of africa? Oz is calling me!

  • jans.opresser - 2012-07-17 21:21

    if this lady is a doctor,then I am the king of england.when did the burning of candles and incense,and blowing smoke over a sick person qualify some one as a doctor?

  • nsinovich - 2012-07-21 10:37

    Only in Africa. Woe to Africa ! Proverbs 3:21-22 For three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up for a servant when he reigns.... Ecclesiastes 10:5-7 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones.I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.

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